Add Custom Thumbnail Images to your C4D Files

Photo of Rick Barrett

Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Duration: 05:55
  • Views: 11283
  • Made with Release: 17
  • Works with Release: 17 and greater

Use final renders, specific views or any image to customize C4D file thumbnails.

Cinema 4D files contain a custom thumbnail that's displayed in Windows Explorer and OSX Finder. In this Quick Tip, you'll learn how to customize that thumbnail image so it's even easier to distinguish between C4D files. This is especially handy if you're handing off files to someone else and want to ensure they understand the content or purpose of each file.

Windows users will also learn how to fix the thumbnails in case they aren't displaying properly in Windows Explorer.

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- [Rick] Cinema 4D automatically embeds a thumbnail in each C4D project file. That means that when you're browsing your projects in Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder, you can easily distinguish the contents of the various projects. You can see that when you're in the icon view of Explorer or Finder, and also if you're in list view and you have the preview pane active, you can see it there. That's exactly the same in Finder. Here you can see that in list view we can see the preview over here in the preview pane. We can also see the icons here. Or if we go into cover flow on Mac OS, you can also see the images here in the cover flow view. So the quick tip for today is that you can actually change the content of this thumbnail. These two projects are a great example, because you can't really tell the difference between the start and the end file based on the thumbnail. So we're going to make that a lot more clear. So what we can do first of all is go into Cinema 4D and make sure that your project settings are open in the Attribute Manager. Hit Control or Command D in order to bring those up, and go to the Info tab. If you scroll to the bottom of the Info tab, you'll see the thumbnail for the file here in the Attributes Manager. What you may not notice is the drop-down that appears beneath that thumbnail, and this allows you to adjust what the image is. By default, Cinema 4D will automatically save a picture of the editor every time you save the file. So, for instance, if I go out of this camera, so we've got a view like this and I hit Control S to save, you can see that the thumbnail updated here. In fact, just to drive the point home, here in Windows Explorer the thumbnail updated as well. What if you don't want that to automatically save every time you change the scene? Well, another option is you can go in here and choose to Copy from Editor. Now it's going to copy the editor as it currently is when you execute that command. But it's not going to automatically save. So if I save the file, you can see that now we're back to our original thumbnail. If I go out of the camera and save again, you can see that the thumbnail didn't change. So, that's one option that you can use to control your thumbnails. Another option is you can actually load a thumbnail from the file. So rather than just using the editor render of this, let's actually load the final render that I created. We'll go ahead and grab this off of the desktop. It's just a tip file. Hit Open, and now you can see that we've got a nice final render saved as the thumbnail. I'm going to save the file, and we can look and here we have that thumbnail in our Windows Explorer view. Well, we can go another step as well. We'll go into Photoshop, and here I've taken our final render and I just typed the word "start." In fact, this is actually the finish file. So let's change "start" to "finish". Now what we'll do is choose to select everything and choose Edit, Copy, Merge. We'll go into Cinema 4D, and now we'll just choose to paste from the clipboard. Now I have the image from Photoshop with text to really clearly establish what is the Finish file for this project, and I could do the same thing with the Start file as well. Mac users can go ahead and tune out now. But I've got a special tip for the Windows users, and that is sometimes Windows loses track of your Cinema 4D installation. There's a special file in there that actually enables these thumbnails to be displayed. So if it can't find that library, then you're not going to see thumbnails in Explorer. So let's look at how to fix that really quickly. What you need to do is launch a command prompt in Administrator Mode. To do that, hit the Windows key and type "cmd". Wherever you see Command Prompt highlighted, go ahead and right-click that and choose Run As Administrator. You should get a command prompt window here that says "administrator: command prompt". What we're going to do is run a built-in windows command called "regsvr32", R-E-G-S-V-R 32. That basically registers a DLL with Windows. Now what we need to do is tell it which DLL to register. The DLL we need is located inside your Cinema 4D path. It's inside your Cinema 4D application directory, Resource, Libs, Win64, and it's Win_thumbnail.dll. Now, normally you could just drag this over into the command prompt. But that doesn't work because it's an administrator command prompt. So what we're going to have to do is actually type this path in. Make sure to enclose it in quotes because the path does include spaces. So I'm going to put two quotes in right away. I'm going to put "C:\ProgramFiles\MAXON\CINEMA 4DR17\ resource\libs\win64\win_thumbnail.dll". Now I hit Enter, and you should see a dialog appear here that says "DLL register server in the path you just typed succeeded." If you see that it failed, likely you typed in the path wrong, so give that another shot. We'll go ahead and hit OK, and now the thumbnails should appear on your Windows installation. Have fun, guys. Enjoy being able to tell the difference between all of your Cinema 4D projects. - [Male] For more great Cinema 4D tutorials and resources, visit
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